top left: like many succulents, Echeverria comes in cooler foliage tones. top right: powder blue tufts of Eupatorium backed by silvery Artemisia 'Powis Castle', part of the 'Abalone' color scheme.

above: temporary flashes of warm color, such as these scarlet blooms of Epilobium canum, help keep the cool pallete from getting too somber. below: the ghostly filigrene foliage of Centaurea gymnocarpa announces that something silver this way comes, while various colored blooms call to the viewer to come closer. 

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Duboce Park - a silver garden  
overall idea for site:  a low water, silver foliage themed garden to harmonize with a grey blue house

description of site: sandy amended soil, east facing but limited sun due to trees and buildings, two sidewalk beds and what are essentially two jumbo raised beds on either side of a driveway.

pluses, solution to challenges: lots of foot (two and four legged) traffic, raised beds allow for extra rampant spreaders

I love the idea of a silver foliage garden, and pairing it with the grey blue house to distinguish this front garden from the others on the block. An absolutely silver garden would get dull quickly, so in considering flower colors, I use a color scheme I call 'Abalone': silvers, blues, pinks, purples and whites- all colors you'd find in an abalone shell. And to keep that color scheme from getting too content, I lightly sprinkled in warm colors for some spark and depth.

This garden is made up of four small area. Above is a before pic of the larger of two sidewalk beds, just after it was enlarged. The city wanted a list of low water plants, and I submitted an initial mix of Achillea, Salvia, Artemisia, Epilobium and Catanache. As you may be able to tell, the soil is very sandy.

Above, some of the elements of the silver garden: 1. Centaurea gymnocarpa reveals it's a cousin to Bachelor Buttons via its bloom. 2. Salvia canariensis invites a touch of the cheek to its felty leaves. 3. Plectranthus neochilus (aka P. canis, P. ornatus) was marketed as a dog repellant. 4. Salvia chamaedryoides brings intense blue floral accents. 5. Iris leaves display cool blades. 6. Plectranthus argentatus offers bold and delicate elements. 7. Phlomis fruticosa adds fine white foliage outlines. 8. Achillea 'Moonshine' draws the eye and keeps monotony at bay. 9. Geranium harveyi bubbles among other plants.

Some seasons later, the same bed, viewed from another angle, is anchored by Centaurea, Salvia and Plectranthus, blending similar color in varied form. Pick up a notebook and take turns covering half the photo. On the left, you can see the stimulating effect of the clash between color and silver. On the right, a more tranquil feeling from the harmonious relationship between elements. The floating baubles are the seedheads of Catanache .

In the future I will be utilizing bright white flowers to tone down the warm colors while energizing the silver base.

  Dean Ouellette 415-820-1623